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The Internet has made us more productive than ever before, and the browser is the gateway to all that productivity. If you’re a Google Chrome user (and if you aren’t, here’s the easy guide to get started), its many extensions and apps can help you turn it into a productivity beast.
Manage Your To-Dos
The to-do list is the cornerstone of a productivity system—although it can make you less productive if you don’t know how to use it right. Chrome users are spoilt for choice: you can either get a new tab page that doubles up as a to-do list, or use a cross-platform to-do app that offers a Chrome extension. Here are our favourite choices:
- Dayboard lists your tasks and has a “focus mode” to concentrate on one task at a time too. It’s one of the coolest ways to revamp your start screen.
- Momentum is another super-useful browser start screen with an inspiring wallpaper, a to-do list, and space for quick links.
- Any.do is a cross-platform app with a Chrome extension, so you can get to your to-do list from any device. The extension also lets you add tasks from your Gmail inbox.
There are plenty of other choices, so it’s really up to you. Remember the five commandments to pick the right to-do list app and go with what works for you.
Track Your Time
Productivity is all about data. To know what works and what doesn’t, you need to track how you are spending time in your browser. If you are getting lost in the world of Wikipedia for far too much time when you should be writing that presentation, that’s not okay. There are some handy services to get your online life under control, but why use a web app when you can have a Chrome extension?
- RescueTime is one of the most powerful time tracking extensions, and it’s available for other platforms too. It’s also the one extension which is reasonably accurate in figuring out when you have walked away from your computer, so the data is more reliable.
- Limitless [No Longer Available] is the new kid on the block, but Aaron reckons it’s the ultimate productivity companion for Chrome. Again, you’ll get the exact amount of time you spent on any site, but it has the added incentive of motivational messages and grouping sites into categories like “fun”, “work”, “technology” and more.
Block Distracting Sites
The Internet is full of tempting headlines waiting to be clicked, but you need to concentrate on your work. When it’s time to get things done, rather than exercising your willpower, just eliminate the distractions. A few cool extensions can block those time-drain websites so you aren’t tempted.
- Productivity Owl is simply about blocking sites. Set a time, add sites you don’t want to visit, and you’re done. If you try to go there, the owl’s stern scolding will keep you away.
- StayFocusd recognizes that you’re not a robot who can go without any fun. So it lets you set a number of daily distractions and bid goodbye to the rest. Cross that number and you’ll be blocked from visiting your favourite pastimes.
- TimeWarp isn’t about blocking sites. Instead, when you try to visit one of your favourite sites, it will simply redirect you to a work page. Simple. It’s not about fighting your urge, just go with the flow. Read our review to know more.
Use The Pomodoro Technique To Work In Short, Focussed Bursts
The Pomodoro productivity technique is about working for short intervals and taking a break, so your mind is sharp and primed to concentrate. Typically, it involves 25 minutes of work followed by a five minute break.
- Simple Pomodoro [No Longer Available] is exactly what the name indicates. It’s a gorgeous, unobtrusive extension where you can set a period of 5, 10, 15 or 25 minutes and start working. You’ll get an alert when time’s up.
- TomaTimer doesn’t look as good, but it’s more customizable. You can set the duration of the timer as well as short and long breaks. The icon also has a counter that indicates how many minutes are left in your session.
BONUS: Play The Right Music For Productivity
With the right sounds to egg you on, you’ll get a lot more done. While not a Chrome extension, you can still open GetWorkDoneMusic in a tab and pin it, so that your tunes are taken care of. If that’s not your scene, find the best music to be productive online.
What About Firefox?
Chrome users are taken care of with this article, but if you’re on Mozilla’s Firefox browser, do you have similar great extensions to boost your productivity? We’d love to know in the comments below.
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